First Time Waterfront Property Owners

Many people dream of buying waterfront property. Options are becoming more abundant in waterfront property and first-time waterfront buyers have many more factors to consider verses a traditional home. This brief guide is intended to help answer some of the questions you may have before your purchase.

In addition to the traditional first-time buyer knowledge necessary, waterfront property is more than just choosing the right home. It's about the total package of home, land, and water. By this we mean the amount of water frontage, options for docks or boathouses, boat slips, type of soil, changes in water levels, wildlife, etc.

Soil, Terrains, and Shorelines:
It is advised that you check the type of soil present and determine if the soil drainage is good, sewer systems and performance, landscaping, etc. It would be advised to have the soil tested by professional lab or environmental group. Also check if the shoreline is rocky, sandy, or clay. A rocky and some types of sandy soil shoreline generally will yield clearer water than clay soil types. But if you have children or grandchildren, a rocky shoreline could be dangerous due to the fact that the rocks tend to be slippery. Also check county records and determine what types of industries are in the area. If you find that there are industries using the water, it would not hurt to have the water tested for safety.

Docks, Boathouses, and Boat Slips:
If there waterfront property you are looking at does not currently have a dock or boathouse and if this is something you may want to install, be sure to check with county offices that govern the lake, river, or channel to determine if a permit has been applied for allowing you to build a dock or boathouse. Some lakes and municipalities do not allow but a certain number of docks and boathouses to preserve the integrity of the water. Many properties that are in waterfront communities that are not on the water have deeded boat slips.

Check with the community homeowners association or local wildlife officials concerning what type of wildlife call the area home. Depending on where you are looking for property, animals like alligators, snakes, deer, bears, and others love water because it serves as both a food and water source allowing them to survive. Just be knowledgeable of what is in your area.

Water Frontage:
Water frontage is the amount of land that fronts the water. How many sides of the property is fronted by water. The more water frontage, the more you can expect to pay based on land value.

In closing, it is also recommended that you seek out the services of a professional home inspector before closing on your waterfront home to verify the home is structurally sound and that there are no unknown electrical, plumbing, mechanical, or structural problems present.